Help with energy bills: how much is British Gas discount, how to claim - list of firms offering bill reduction

The energy firm said customers can save up to 7% off the cost of energy by changing the way they pay

British Gas customers can get up to £175 off their energy bills by simply changing the way they pay.

The energy firm says customers can save up to 7% off the cost of energy if they pay via direct debit.

That totals a saving of £175 a year from October, when bills will freeze at £2,500 a year under the Energy Price Guarantee.

Several other energy firms will also offer a bill reduction to customers who pay via direct debit.

Here’s everything you need to know.

How does it work?

If you pay by direct debit you will pay your provider a set amount every month.

This is not actually your bill, because it is not the amount you are charged for your energy.

Instead, energy firms estimate how much they think you will use over the year and divide this by 12 to determine your monthly direct debit amount.

Paying your direct debit ensures there is always enough money in your account to cover this changing cost and keep you in credit.

If you pay quarterly, the yearly estimate will be divided by four.

It is important to give up-to-date meter readings so your supplier can provide more accurate bill estimates. It means you will avoid paying more than you need to, as suppliers review bills regularly.

How do I set up a direct debit?

If you want to set up a direct debit, log into your online account.

You will need a bill to hand with your bank account number, sort code, and a preferred payment date between the 1st and 28th of each month.

It takes at least 10 working days for British Gas to set up a direct debit and you can choose to set up a fixed or a variable direct debit.

A fixed direct debit is where you pay the same amount each month on the same day - the amount you pay is based on your recent usage and outstanding balance, if any.

A variable direct debit is where you pay for what you use, when you use it - which means you may pay less in the summer and more in winter. This is because it is unlikely that you will be paying to heat your home during the warmer summer months.

Which other energy firms offer a discount?

It is not just British Gas offering a direct debit bill discount, other energy firms are too. These include:

  • E.ON
  • EDF
  • Good Energy
  • Scottish Power
  • Shell Energy
  • Utilita 

Customers of E.ON, EDF and Scottish Power will save £215 over the next year if they opt to pay their energy bills by direct debit.

Customers at Good Energy can get a discount of £15 per fuel type per year.

Meanwhile, Shell Energy applies a monthly direct debit discount, which it says can save customers up to £48 per fuel per year - or £96 a year.

Utilita customers can also get a 6% discount on their bill if they chose to pay this way.

However, not all suppliers offer a discount for direct debit payments - including Octopus, Bulb, and So Energy.

Is switching to a direct debit the only way to save money?

It could be an idea to switch to pay your bills via direct debit to get a discount as costs soar.

But if you do not want to switch payment methods, there are plenty of other ways to get help with your bills.

British Gas has recently confirmed that it will pay its most vulnerable customers grants worth £750 to help with increasing energy bills.

You can ask your supplier what’s on offer and how to apply. Check your supplier here:

There is also a one-off fuel voucher from your energy supplier if you are on a prepayment metre.

There is free advice on how to manage debt either in person, over the phone or online.

They can also help you take the next steps if you need a debt management plan (DMP) to tackle your debt or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) - these are agreements for managing multiple debts.

From October the first, all UK households are set to receive the £400 energy bills rebate.

Meanwhile payments for the £150 Warm Home Discount scheme will likely begin from December.